Readings for the Day
1 Samuel 20,21 Psalm 34, Matthew 5
Verses of the Day
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
In chapter 5, Jesus takes his disciples away from the crowds, by the mountainside, to explain what the kingdom of God looks like. This is what is commonly referred to as the "Sermon on the Mount", and comprises chapters 5-7 in the Gospel of Matthew. Whether or not this is one sermon or collections of his teachings does not really matter. It is one of the most comprehensive bodies of what he taught. Importantly since he is teaching his Jewish disciples, he uses the message to help them to re-frame their understanding of the Old Testament.
In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says, "I did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it." Meaning Jesus didn't come to overturn all of the scriptures from the Old Testament, but to teach how He was the fulfillment of them. Later in this chapter, he will take each of the Ten Commandments and teach them the deeper meaning of them.
In the passage today Jesus uses the metaphor of salt to describe how they interact in the world. Salt was a vital resource as it preserved meat, as there was no refrigeration. Salt not only gave taste, but preserved the meat from rotting. As such the disciples will be the ones that preserve a rotting world. The disciples will not be hiding in a corner, but at work in the world. Their presence will give God's flavoring to the world.
The bottom line is that it is not always easy to be in the world, but if we lose our saltiness what is the result? If our purpose is to be God's preservative agents in the world and we provide no flavoring at all, who will?
Have you lost your saltiness? Do you blend in the world or are you acting as a preservative? There is also a warning in here about salt that has lost its saltiness. It reminds us that at the heart of what it means to be a disciple is to be "in" the world but not "of" the world. Let's not lose our taste!!